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Arjuna Nagendran

Doctor,

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What experiences have made you more comfortable with mental health disorders?

What things make you fearful of mental health disorders? And what experiences have made you more comfortable with it?

In the quest to dispell stigma, how can we help our society grow out of its fear?

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    Oct 13 2012: Hello Arjuna,
    I have been comfortable with many different "types" of people my whole life, because I am fascinated with human behaviors...mine included! I love observing and exploring human behaviors from many different angles.

    Years ago, I had the opportunity to coach kids who were competing in the special olympics. The kids I was teaching to ski, were labeled mentally disabled.....mostly Down's syndrome. They were all some of the most enthusiastic, energetic, joyfull and unconditionally loving people I have ever encountered! That was my first interaction with a large group of people labeled with mental disorders.

    Their demeanor was so delightful and encouraging to all of us, that we (the coaches) often wondered and asked each other....who is teaching who here! The experience really opened my eyes and heart to see something very different than a "disorder". If we could all have the enthusiasm and love those kids shared with us, what a wonderful world it would be:>)
    • Oct 13 2012: What a wonderful experience it is, right? :-)
      Experiences surely teach us a lot more than we think...
      I wish I could have that kind of meaningful experiences in the near future..

      One experience of helping a person with mental disordor was actually quite demanding and even stressful...

      But that was a special case with kinda long story ...

      Anyway, those kids would also be happy when they realize(I believe they probably will) there was a person who found hope in their hearts. :)
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        Oct 14 2012: Yes indeed Elizabeth....a wonderful experience.

        You are in luck my dear one!
        The 2013 winter special olympics are going to be in So. Korea!!!

        Here is a link with information about volunteering. They need all kinds of people with various skills and talents, so DO IT Elizabeth if you can:>)

        http://www.specialolympics.org/volunteers.aspx
        http://www.specialolympics.org/Shriver-Announces-Korea-2013-Games.aspx
        • Oct 14 2012: Wow....I didn't know these opportunities...!
          Thank you so much, Colleen :D
          I'll first find out what I can do through skimming through those websites.
          If there's any question on that matter, I'll send you an email via 'TED contact' to see if I can get your advice...! :)
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        Nov 8 2012: Any news Elizabeth?

        As I recall, one of the sites had a link to connect you with information regarding opportunities in your area. That is what I did with special olympics. I was involved in the state pre-qualifiers. The state special olympics that year happened to be at the ski area close to my home (Northeast USA) while the finals were out west. I really hope you can participate....it's a wonderful, very fullfilling experience:>)

        You are welcome to contact me any time....I enjoy our conversations Elizabeth:>)
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      Nov 6 2012: Hi Colleen,
      Long time no see. I hope you're keeping well.
      Being very familiar with Down's Syndrome it makes me really uncomfortable, not to say angry at the least, when I see it related to words such as mentally disabled or mental disorder. I strongly believe there is a huge difference between people suffering from mental health issues and people with down's syndrome. Let's encourage people to stop using such labels and yes, let's all allow ourselves to appreciate the authentic enthusiam and love they so generously always share.
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        Nov 8 2012: Hello Helena....always nice to connect with you:>) I am well...hope the same for you?

        It is not comfortable for me either Helena, when people are labeled. I was labeled for awhile after my near fatal head injury. Medical professionals told me and my family that I would never be "normal" again. As I began to recover, I was curious to find out what that meant for me the rest of my life, so I did a lot of research and study regarding mental disabilities.

        What I discovered, is that we all experience many so called "disabilities" at some level, sometimes in our lives. We all experience fear at some point, on many different levels, we are all paranoid on some level, at some time in our lives, we have "up" and "down" times, so we may all experience manic/depressive behaviors on some level, we are all often obsessed with something or someone...who knows when this becomes obsessive compulsive.....etc. etc......

        Thankfully, all the cognitive testing I experienced as the brain healed showed no permanent cognitive challenges. As a matter of fact, tests indicated that I was high average/superior AFTER the brain was damaged.....don't know how THAT happened!!!

        My experience with the head injury and subsequent exploration, research, and study, gave me even more information that tells me that labeling anyone is not always a good idea. I think/feel that to evaluate someone and possibly labeling for the purpose of helping to support someone with their function or dysfunction may be an acceptable use of labels. Other than that, I see us all more the same than different:>)
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          Nov 9 2012: HI Colleen,
          I'm very well, thank you.
          I simply have issues with the connotations involved in the word disabled and some of the meanings the dictionary offers, that's all. I personally think labels do a lot of damage. On the other hand, I believe the general sense of "fear" in relation to this topic, comes from uncertainty. If we were informed about the different conditions people may experience, the fear would be less and therefore people would have the chance to interact with one another more comfortably.
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        Nov 9 2012: Hi again Helena,
        I understand, feel the same way, and I also agree with you that fear is a major factor with this topic. Information certainly helps us understand various conditions of the human body/mind and if we could realize more about different levels and degrees of various conditions, it might be helpful to our understanding. As has been mentioned already on this thread, many people who supposedly have mental disorders have a great deal to offer us if we can really be with them without fear.
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      Nov 7 2012: Testing replies...

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